In addition, Shah will be subject to five years of supervised release once she gets out. Her sentencing came after prosecutors urged for Shah to serve 120 months, or 10 years, behind bars.
“To us, these were not numbers, these are older vulnerable people whose lives were turned upside down by the defendant’s telemarketing scam and they still suffer,” prosecutor Robert Sobelman said in court.
Prior to her sentencing, the United States government recommended the Bravo star, 49, receive 10 years behind bars after she requested a reduced prison sentence.
Shah “took a series of increasingly extravagant steps to conceal her criminal conduct from the authorities” and “engaged in a years-long, comprehensive effort to hide her continued role in the scheme,” the government wrote in court documents obtained by In Touch on December 23.
The documents pointed out that Shah was “an integral leader” of the nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme that “victimized thousands of innocent people,” notably those who were “elderly or vulnerable.”
“Many of those people suffered significant financial hardship and damage. At the defendant’s direction, victims were defrauded over and over again until they had nothing left,” the documents read. “She and her co-conspirators persisted in their conduct until the victims’ bank accounts were empty, their credit cards were at their limits, and there was nothing more to take.”
Shah wrote a letter to the judge asking for a reduced three-year sentence, claiming her “terrible business decisions” were because of “personal painful experiences” that were happening in her life at the time.
The Instagram influencer’s legal troubles began when she and her assistant, Stuart Smith, were arrested in Salt Lake City, Utah, in March 2021. They were both charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and conspiracy to commit money-laundering.
Shah initially pleaded not guilty on all charges and continuously maintained her innocence. However, in July 2022, she changed her plea to guilty, telling Judge Sidney Stein that she “agreed” to “commit wire fraud” from 2012 to March 2021.
The mom of two, who shares adult sons Sharrieff Jr. and Omar with husband Sharrieff Shah, went on to note that she “knew it was wrong” and “how many people were harmed” before apologizing for the scheme.
However, many officials implored the courts to take Shah’s charges seriously.
“As alleged, Shah and Smith, 43, objectified their very real human victims as ‘leads’ to be bought and sold, offering their personal information for sale to other members of their fraud ring,” HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said in a statement.
Prosecutors believed Shah and Smith “undertook significant efforts to conceal their roles” in the scam, including using encrypted messaging applications and making cash withdrawals “to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements.”